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Silvering the backs of stones


Hello all,

Will’s suggestion on how to set the moonstone brought up a question
that I have had for some time. Can the back of a stone, perhaps
moonstone or even thin obsidian be silvered like the glass used in
mirrors? In old magic books I’ve read about darkened or obsidian
mirrors and I’ve wondered how they are made.



Slight change of subject-but has anyone tried using scrap silicon
wafer stock for stone backing? Maybe a little thin ,but uniform
thickness, nice polish ,dark ,and shiney. I don’t have a free source
for this scrap but its arround


What a great idea ! ( backing moonstones with silicon wafer ) I
bought a dozen whole wafers at a garage sale recently and have been
wondering what the heck to do with them ! As a matter of fact, the
guy has more of them and now that I have a way to use them I think
I’ll glom on to the remainder. Has anyone out there had any
experience with cutting and shaping silicon wafers ? I have several
trim saws and assume that a wet diamond blade should do the trick.
Toxicity could be a problem; certainly the dust should not be
inhaled…If anyone out there wants to play with this idea get in
touch with me and I will share my wafers. Thanks Ron Mills at Mills
Gem Company, Los Osos, CA. 805 528 666l


Hi, I have cut a few cabs out of silicon, chief thing with it is it is
so brittle. Anything other than a well rounded edge will literally
start to flake off in your fingers (rather sharp shards too!). I don’t
know how well it would grind thin - the wafers for chips should work
though. I got my material when I was visiting the San Fran area -
there is a rock shop in Mountain View Ca. called Gems Galore - 982 El
Monte Ave. 650 968-8707 that sells silicon by the boule, hunk, or
wafer (even the carrying racks!). If you are really lucky they will
sell you a map to the mine up in the hills ; ) - the legendary lost
mine of Silicon Valley!

It does take a nice polish but it is very messy to grind (black goopy
residue) so don’t wear your white clothes.

A down and dirty way to silver the back of a stone is to use silver
automotive touch up paint in a spray can. Another method I have seen
is to polish a piece of silver sheet and epoxy it to the back. I don’t
treat stones this way but if it is your thing it does work.

Cameron Speedie
Island Gem and Rock


Working the wafers is no different thany any stone, exect they are
thin and as a result neen a little more care to keep from unwanted
breakage. The wafers are processed in the fab a little thicker than
the finished chip. after the chip mfg process is completed the wafer
is laped thiner on the backside with conventional diamond techniques
then cut into the small individual chip for packaging. They stand
normal very carefull handling.


An obsidian mirror is not silvered. It is simply a highly polishid
slab of obsidian. Many highly polished survfaces can reflect an
image. Mirrors such as this were used long before mirrors were made
with glass and silver. Michael / QuestFox

 What a great idea ! ( backing moonstones with silicon wafer )  

Besides the mundane materials like foils and mylar, and the exotics
like silicon wafers, there is a really interesting backing material
that anyone who is on a computer magazine mailing list or two should
have accumulated stacks of - Yes, I’m speaking of CD’s - the
ubiquitous compact discs that flood the mailbox every week - [You know

  • "Sign up now and receive 46,301 FREE hours of Internet for the
    first 30 days…] They are easily cut and shaped with jeweler’s saw
    and files and they have that lovely iridescent diffraction grating
    color play anong with the reflectivity.



Hi-all has anyone tried plain ole aluminum foil as a base I have & I
got good results - cheap easy to work with & gives the stones a bump
in the light dept. - just (glue) the foil into the inside of the
bezzel seat the cab then do the bezzel thing - you can see if this
will enhance by simply sitting the srone on the foil - foil doesnt
tarnish & never breaks down.


Hi Alum may not tarnish but it does build up an oxid layer. Might dull
it a bit. I use 999 sil foil or 22k foil for this. Unglued and just
placed in the closed bezel under translucent scabs, I mean cabs.



Brian is right about aluminum foil building up an oxide layer. I
would follow his suggestion and use fine silver, or gold under your
transparent stones. I had a customer bring in a bezel set ring with
a rose quartz stone. it had turned all murkey underneath the stone,
and we decided to open the bezel, remove the stone and see what was
happening. We carefully got the bezel open, and the stone out and
found that it had been set on alum foil which had turned to a lead
color, and had deteriorated in parts. The customer had been wearing
the ring while doing dishes, washing her hands etc., and we surmised
that some ammonia or other harsh substance had gotten in thru the
bezel. I reset it using a piece of 30 gauge fine silver placed
under the stone, and to- date she has had no problems. So, do follow
Brian’s suggestion and use either fine silver or gold foil. --Just
my two bits worth–Alma

          Brian is right  about aluminum  foil building  up an
      oxide layer.  I would follow his suggestion and use  fine
      silver, or gold under your transparent stones. 
  I just know I've repaired jewelry where under the stone it was
  "tinned" using pure tin, which should be very inert to
  oxidation.  Anyone else ever see this?  Those flat bottomed
  "mine-cuts" almost always had some sort of burnished white
  metal under them.